Posted by Thomas Nephew on March 13th, 2005
Former White House counselor Karen P. Hughes will take over the Bush administration’s troubled public diplomacy effort intended to burnish the U.S. image abroad, particularly in the Muslim world, where anti-Americanism has fueled extremist groups and terrorism, a senior administration official said yesterday.
Hard to imagine someone less qualified for a job. It’s as if they went and nominated for Condoleeza Rice to be Secretary of State… Oh…. OK, it’s as if they went and nominated Alberto Gonzales to be — get this — Attorney General! Oh…
The mostly white audience in this mostly black southern city clapped wildly as Bush took what he called the “presidential roadshow” to its 14th state Friday. He was greeted like Elvis — adoring fans hooting and hollering, and hanging on his every word.
The few dissenting voices in the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts were quickly silenced or escorted out by security. One woman with a soft voice but firm opposition to Bush was asked to leave, even though her protests were barely audible beyond her section in the back corner of the auditorium.
The form, but not the substance of democracy — call it Potemkin democracy. People who play along with this should be ashamed of themselves, reporters and newspapers who report it as anything other than a sham should be ashamed of themselves, too. I’d say the same about those staging these farces, but it’s a waste of time.
An Indian tribe and a gambling services company made donations to a Washington public policy group that covered most of the cost of a $70,000 trip to Britain by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), his wife, two aides and two lobbyists in mid-2000, two months before DeLay helped kill legislation opposed by the tribe and the company. [...]
Both the DeLays and the Hirschmanns reported their meal expenses during the trip as $2,000 per person, or roughly $200 a day.
Pigs at the trough.
Two detainees held at the U.S. detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan, died within a week of each other in December 2002 after military police guards and military intelligence interrogators brutally beat them and left them chained to the ceiling in standing positions, according to Army documents obtained by a human rights group. [...]
The documents detail abuse at Bagram that was far more severe than that seen at Abu Ghraib, however. Soldiers are accused of placing Dilawar in a “standing restraint” position as punishment, something that the documents reveal was part of the Bagram Control Point’s standard operating procedure. They are accused of using their knees to deliver dozens of blows to Dilawar’s lower body, what the soldiers apparently called “compliance blows” to get him to cooperate. An autopsy showed that Dilawar’s legs were so damaged that amputation would have been necessary.(emphases added)
“Compliance blows” doesn’t sound like bad-apple-talk, it sounds like Pentagonese, don’t you think?
When the news about two deaths in Bagram broke back in early 2003, seemingly more as rumor than as fact, it generated a lot of heated discussion. You have to hand it to the Pentagon, they’ve boiled us frogs pretty well; by now, this stuff can’t make it past page A14. But bless Josh White and the Post for writing and running the story at all.
* All stories from the March 12 Washington Post: Peter Baker (Karen Hughes), Jim VandeHei and Peter Baker (Social Security Show), James V. Grimaldi and R. Jeffrey Smith (DeLay), Josh White (beatings).